Jerec's Games of February 2021
February 28, 2021

FINISHED

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC (Steam)

This one clocked in at around 85 hours (in game), though Steam says it's around 63 hours. An interesting side effect of Turbo mode is that it basically speeds up time. I was absolutely hooked on this, finishing it up pretty early in February. So much character development, and a very engaging story that pays off all the setup from this game and the previous title. As soon as I finished it, I launched right into the third game.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky The 3rd (Steam)

The focus in this game shifts to Kevin, the travelling priest who showed up in Second Chapter. Events at the end of the second game cause a sort of metaphysical alternate reality to spring up, which forms the entirity of this game - it's one huge dungeon, although some areas are reworkings of areas from the first two games. You start off with Kevin and his square Ries as they investigate the Recluse Cube. They find themselves trapped in this strange otherworld, and soon realise all their friends (and even some foes) are trapped there too. This title does a lot of different things, plotwise, that probably couldn't be done in a straightforward narrative. Kevin and Ries's story is told throughout the game, but you also find doors that lead to side stories featuring some of the other characters. These stories are enjoyable - many of them show what people have been up to since the events of Second Chapter, some stories go back further, such as the early days of Joshua's adoption into the Bright household. A few are pure worldbuilding, talking about history or various organisations. Some of them set up story arcs for the series going forward - First Chapter and Second Chapter were one self contained story, but this is the moment where you get a sense of the larger politics in play across the continent. Crossbell is mentioned frequently (which is the location for the next two games), plus mentions of what is going on in Erebonia (Trails of Cold Steel arc), and Calvard (possible future game?).

I tore through this game in like 8 days, somewhere around 50 hours.

IN PROGRESS

The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Zero (or Zero no Kiseki)

I'm playing the Geofront fan translation/patch, which is of exceptional quality. This game is set in the city state of Crossbell, and has you play as Lloyd Bannings, a detective in a police force that is taking some inspiration from the Bracer Guild, so it plays similarly to Trails in the Sky, but with some iterative improvements to combat. Having started with Cold Steel, I can see this is very much a middle game in terms of design. I'm about 20 hours into this so far, still early days if the chapter numbers are anything to go by. I'm slowing myself down a bit, since the Geofront patch for the sequel isn't out yet, but is expected to release sometime early this year.

Faerie Solitaire Harvest (Steam)

Still going. Finished it once, did New Game+. Playing it a lot less now, but it's fun to play a couple of rounds in the evening.

Steins;Gate ELITE (Steam)

I'm somewhere in Chapter 2. I feel a bit guilty about playing this, since my current visual novel focus should be on Danganronpa... but this is comfort food.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)

Still going. Completed the bug collection. Got one more sea creature to catch in April then I'm done with that. The museum will be complete except for art, which I expect will take a while. The most I played last month was the Festivale event, which let me obtain a lot of new furniture items.

Pic-a-Pix Classic 2 (Vita)

Finished a couple of puzzles.

Danganronpa 1-2 Reloaded (PS4)

Progress is slow. I'll get there.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Switch)

I completed the Black Eagles/Gold Deer playthroughs in the months following the release in 2019, then I took a long break. Decided to jump back into it with the DLC side story - Cindered Shadows. The story itself was fine, the missions were quite challenging, and it does add a lot of content into the main game proper, of which I have not seen everything yet. I picked up the season pass on special back around Christmas, so I was meaning to give it a go. I then jumped into a third playthrough of the main game, this time choosing the Blue Lions. I've recruited EVERYONE. This game has hooked me in just as much as it did the first two times. The gameplay loop of battles/support conversations/training units is as compelling as ever. There is a fourth main quest to play that branches off the Black Eagles story path, so I'm a long way from completely finishing this game. I'm sitting at around 190 hours of total gameplay now.

Commander Keen Dreams (Switch)

Picked it up dirt cheap, because I noticed it was excluded from my Keen collection on PC. The game kinda sucks - I remember it being a lot better. Maybe it's just bad with a controller. I should try plugging in my keyboard to see if the Switch will let me use that to play it like I did on the computer back when I was as old as Keen is (the character, not the franchise).

NEGLECTED

Games I played in January that I did not touch in February, adding here to remind me that I still have unfinished business with them. See! I get side-tracked like crazy! The Trails games are absolutely magic that they've managed to keep me hooked for so long.

Uncharted
Ys I
Bug Fables
Ni No Kuni

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Feedback
honestgamer honestgamer - March 01, 2021 (08:21 PM)
I did all the Festivale stuff in one day. I really need to get to Legend of Heroes: TITS, but I know it'll suck up a lot of time when I do and time isn't something I have a lot of right now. Or ever, apparently. Because if I don't have a lot of time now, when will I?
jerec jerec - March 01, 2021 (11:06 PM)
Trails in the Sky trilogy is easily a 200 hour investment if you try to do all the quests along the way, but totally worth it. The turbo mode makes battles and walking a lot quicker, though, so depending on how much you make use of it, it'll take less time. Still, it's a lot. And then it's just the tip of the iceberg with the Trails series in general.
overdrive overdrive - March 02, 2021 (02:26 PM)
I'm still playing the first Trails of Cold Steel. Partway through Chapter 4 at the end of the second day of the field exam in the capital city right before the Summer Festival. Basically right before the monster you have to kill in the sewers under the dock area. My feelings are complicated. I love the world-building and way you only get bits and pieces of the big conflicts that are threatening to cause warfare and the more I play it, the more I get into and enjoy the battle system.

But on the other hand, as the first installment of a four chapter (or more, I see there is an "Origins" game that came out in Japan after 4) story, it just feels weird. Where you're getting an introduction to the various cities and provinces of the world, but it's just an introduction. Where, with it being the first chapter of a large story, it feels less like a self-contained game and feels like an introduction to this Legend of Heroes story, where when it's done, I'll have invested a ton of hours into something, but won't have that feeling of resolution I'd get from beating a game because in this series, one game just leads into the next.
jerec jerec - March 02, 2021 (02:59 PM)
Cold Steel I does that very well, I think. It makes sense, because the characters you are following are students. Especially at that point, they are far away from being decision makers, but they do seem to find themselves getting involved in what's going on. Of all the games, I think Cold Steel I took me the longest, since I was interested but not invested. It's worth finishing, though.

For what it's worth, Cold Steel I & II are a pretty much self contained arc (although some of it is enhanced by knowing the events of the other games). Upon finishing II, I knew I had to go back and play the older stuff before moving forward, since people do compare Cold Steel III & IV to the Avengers, where a lot of elements from the other arcs start coming together.
overdrive overdrive - March 09, 2021 (12:43 PM)
For me, getting past II will likely involve III and IV getting placed on PlayStation Now in the future, since that was how I got into the first game. Which means that after I finish the first game, the odds of me starting the second might wind up being determined by whether other games get added.

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